The best part of Windows 11 is a revamped Windows Subsystem for Linux

Installing and using the Windows Subsystem for Linux is easier and more productive under Windows 11 than it was under Windows 10.

Enlarge / Installing and using the Windows Subsystem for Linux is easier and more productive under Windows 11 than it was under Windows 10. (credit: Jim Salter)

In our main Windows 11 review posted earlier this week, we covered the majority of new features and design decisions in Microsoft’s newest consumer OS—and it feels reasonable to characterize the overall impression given there as “lukewarm.” The good news: we still hadn’t covered the best part of Windows 11—Linux.

For years now, Windows 10’s Windows Subsystem for Linux has been making life easier for developers, sysadmins, and hobbyists who have one foot in the Windows world and one foot in the Linux world. But WSL, handy as it is, has been hobbled by several things it could not do. Installing WSL has never been as easy as it should—and getting graphical apps to work has historically been possible but a pain in the butt which required some fairly obscure third-party software.

Windows 11 finally fixes both of those problems. The Windows Subsystem for Linux isn’t perfect on Windows 11—but it’s a huge improvement over what came before.

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